Q1: What does “Artist in Residence” mean?
“Artist in Residence (AIR)” is a program to support the creative activities of artists in Japan and overseas by providing opportunities for them to stay and work outside their countries or regions for a certain period of time. With growing interest in AIR in Japan in the early 1990s, an increasing number of local governments and art-related NPOs have been working on AIR programs.
Q2: How did the Artist in Residence programs come about?
It is said that the origin of AIR dates back to 1666, when the French Academy granted the prestigious Rome Prize to excellent artists and sent them to Rome to hone their artistic abilities and skills.
Q3: Where can I see archives or catalogs prepared by AIR organizations and institutions?
You can find archives and catalogs by AIR organizations and institutions on the AIR_J website. For more detailed contents, please visit the Japan Foundation Information Center Library.
Q4: What kinds of fields are covered by AIR?
Artist in Residence (AIR) provides residency programs to creators in various fields including music, drama, art, architecture, literature and design. In other countries there are AIR programs not only for artists but also for researchers. Programs in the website “AIR_J” are classified into drama, music, painting, architecture, craft, photography/images, sculpture, design, performance, print, fashion, etc.
Q5: Do I have to meet any conditions or qualifications to participate in an AIR program?
To participate in an AIR program, you are required to submit an application form for each program or make a presentation. The application procedures are different depending on which application system the program employs: the open application system or the recommendation system. For qualifications, in many programs applicants may be required to have graduated from a university or graduate school. There are also programs to support emerging artists, career improvement and activities while on sabbatical leave to meet the diverse needs of various artists. Since most of these programs have age limits, you need to confirm before applying.
In Japan, many AIR programs are operated by local governments. Some of these programs require artists to open their studios to the public or to hold workshops for local citizens during the period of residency.
Q6: How long can a participant stay in a residence?
The length of residency varies depending on the program, ranging from one month to 1-3 years.
Q7: How can I apply to a program? How can I know the application schedule?
Application procedures are different for each program. Some programs require you to attach to the standard application form a portfolio, a document showing your achievements, or a letter of recommendation. Organizers call for applications from home and abroad on their websites. You should prepare an application form and submit it in accordance with the procedures specified on these websites.
There are two application schedule patterns: applications are either received once every fiscal year, or all year round. Many Japanese programs (especially those provided by public art centers) announce the program and call for applications in a very short period of time every fiscal year (for example, announcing and calling for applications from January to March for a program starting in April). Therefore, you need to check the application period before applying to a program.
We recommend checking the appropriate information on the website of each AIR_J program that you are interested in, and follow AIR_J’s twitter account, which also provides application information.
Q8: Do I need to bear the costs of transportation and accommodation myself?
There are cases where you will have to bear all expenses yourself and others where you can receive support from the organizer (refer to the next paragraph). If the program you are considering participating in does not grant any support for expenses that you have to pay for your stay and creative activities, you may be able to use public or private subsidy programs for individual artists. Our site provides information on some support organizations.
Q9: What kind of support can I receive for creative activities during a residency?
The support provided by organizers differ greatly, depending on the program. Therefore, you need to compare the support to be provided with your requirements. Some programs provide the following support:
・Financial assistance (subsidies for transport, creative activities, accommodation, etc. or remuneration)
・“Hardware” support (production studio, exhibition space, accommodation, etc.)
・“Software” support that mainly includes physical support (technical staff, assistants, volunteer staff etc.)
Q10: What kind of advantages or effects can I enjoy by participating in an AIR?
You can establish a network with other artists or researchers who are participating in the same residence at the same time and with the institution organizing the program. Through this network, you may have the opportunity to expand your activity (displaying your works in exhibitions or participating in other projects). In addition to acquiring such career-enhancing opportunities, artists can have the opportunity to look back at the path they have taken so far and attempt to devise other, more novel ways of expression. You may thus gain both tangible and intangible results through the program.
Q11: What language level is needed to participate in an overseas AIR program?
In all programs, you mightl need to be able to speak the local language, at the daily conversation level at a minimum. Some residency programs require artists to provide workshops and lectures in the language of the country where the residence is located. In such case, you will need to speak the language at a sufficient level to meet such requirements. But most cases in Japan, curators and coordinators who can speak English will help artists.
Q12: Who will hold the ownership or copyrights of the works that are created in the residency program?
The ownership of works will vary, depending on the conditions of the program. For many outdoor works and other permanent works (and equivalent works), the copyright may belong to the creator of the work, and ownership and the right to use may belong to the organizer. For installation works, after their temporary exhibition, they may be removed to restore the venue to its original state, and all rights to the work may belong to their creators. For some works of media expression, agreements need to be concluded on performing rights. In the field of modern art, designating the person to whom the rights for works are attributed is difficult in many cases, and sufficient discussion is needed between the artist and the organizer.
Q13: Are there other websites providing information on AIRs?
Domestic and overseas AIR programs provide information on their own websites. You can visit them and acquire information on the characteristics, details and application conditions of the AIR programs. The websites of “Trans Artists,” which provides archives of information on AIRs around the world, “Res Artis,” an international network of AIR programs and the Japanese “J-AIR Network Forum,” as well as embassies and International cultural institutions, issue a variety of information.
Supervisor: Teiko Hinuma